Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
translation by Patty Crane

The Cuckoo

A cuckoo perched and who-whoed in a birch just north of the house. It was so loud that at first I thought an opera singer was performing a cuckoo-imitation. Surprised I even saw the bird. Its tail-feathers moved up and down with every note, like the handle on a pump. The bird hopped, feet together, turned and cried out to all four directions. Then it lifted off and, muttering, flew over the house and far away to the west . . . The summer is growing old and everything flows together into a single melancholy sigh. Cuculus canorus is returning to the tropics. Its time in Sweden is through. It wasn’t long! In fact, the cuckoo is a citizen of Zaire . . . I am not so fond of making journeys anymore. But the journey visits me. Now when I’m pushed more and more into a corner, when every year the tree rings widen, when I need reading glasses. There’s always more happening than we can bear! It’s nothing to be surprised about. These thoughts bear me as faithfully as Susi and Chuma bore Livingstone’s mummified body straight across Africa.